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The Story of the Magic Mirrors

August 18th, 2008

Daniel Pontius

Merlin and the spirit of Saint Germain are in the air. About a month ago, I was dropping some unfinished cardboard frames at my brother’s house to store in his garage. They live in a builder-neighborhood that has about 5 different model house types. I think their favorite model is aptly named Bungalow. Paseos connect all of the houses to the City Center which 10 years ago when I first came to visit was a parking lot. Now the City Center is very green with peppy-jazzy-music that pipes out of the bushes and there are bronze statues of children playing and of old people sitting on benches.
For about 10 years I’ve made these cardboard magic mirrors for friends. These came about after the suggestion and enthusiasm of my old friend and former employer Ms Noel who is a fabulous scenic painter and muralist amongst other things. I made the first newly conceived Magic Mirror for her youngest daughter (I have recently heard she has grown up to be a very cool and smart young artist so I am certain their power is just). 
My 8 year old nephew asks me about the frames as I am unloading them from the back of my car to the garage: What are they? What are you going to do with them? Where do you sell them? Do they cost alot? Why do you make them out of cardboard?
Because they are magic, I told him. 
They are magic? He asked.
I can get whatever I want?
Not exactly. 
Can I have one? 
Yay! I’m going to get a magic mirror!!!
I couldn’t quite figure out how to say that they are not the magic of an endless pocket-full-of-gold that can get you anything you want, but a magic of focus and alchemy. 
About a week after our Magic conversation, I get a phone message from my brother and his 4 year old son saying that he would like a magic mirror as well. My brother texts me a couple weeks later: “They have been telling everyone that they are getting magic mirrors. It’s kind of hard to explain.”
Magic is difficult to explain and believe in. Goethe said that courage has genius, power and magic in it. He also said that magic is believing in yourself and if you can do that you can make anything happen. Along those same lines, JK Rowling said that we all have to remember we have magic in us–I mean read a little about her life–proof positive right? I left the Magic Mirrors for them when they were on vacation and I left a note saying that I would have to explain how they work when I saw them next. 
Sunday, I saw them again at their youngest brother’s first birthday party. The 8 year old ran past me me red faced and excited on his way to the inflatable bouncing house in the back yard saying, “Thank you for the Magic Mirror and did you bring the stuff to make them magic?” 
Yes, but we should talk about it. 
He hesitated a minute and said: They are just regular mirrors aren’t they? He seemed a bit frustrated as he hadn’t gotten any of the things he wanted. 
I don’t know are they? 
I think maybe they are. 
Did you tell anyone what you have been wishing for? 
No, he said shaking his head while his eyes said yes. 
Really? You haven’t told anyone?
He ran off to go bounce.
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